Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool now boast a defensive record to rival their attacking threat in Premier League title push

Reds have maintained a clean sheet in their last two matches against Southampton and Manchester United

Liverpool's attacking threat has never been in question but manager Brendan Rodgers believes the balance they have struck in recent weeks gives them an even better chance of winning matches.

The Reds are on a 10-match unbeaten run, having won eight Barclays Premier League games since the start of the year and racked up a plus 20 goal difference for that time, but back-to-back clean sheets at Southampton and Manchester United have pointed to improvements elsewhere.

"If you look at the two sets of teams we were playing against, both are teams that can be offensive," he said.

"To have two clean sheets and restrict Manchester United to one shot on target - their lowest at Old Trafford in five seasons - shows you how hard our players are working without the ball as well as with it.

 

"It is the balance we have been looking for; we are playing an attacking aggressive game but it is equally important for us to defend.

"If we show that balance in our game it gives you the opportunity to win more."

Their form since the turn of the year has given Liverpool a shot at the title while also enhancing Rodgers' reputation as one of the brightest young managers around.

After the 3-0 win at United, captain Steven Gerrard urged owners Fenway Sports Group not to waste any time in extending the Northern Irishman's contract, which has a year to run with the option for a further 12-month extension.

"It gives me happiness that the captain, who is an iconic figure at this club and has worked with so many great managers, will say those words," said Rodgers, who has stressed he is focused on finishing the season rather than tying up loose ends on any new contract.

"As the manager you are aiming to earn the respect of the players - you don't necessarily have to be liked - and the supporters and hopefully, at this time, both are happy with where we are heading but we have a long way to go.

"But there will be no individual in this final part, it can only be on the club and the team."

In recent weeks Rodgers has opted for a settled line-up with only minimal changes when a tweak of approach was needed against a particular opponent.

But that does not mean he is neglecting those who have been restricted to supporting roles from the bench.

"You'll get the best out of players when they know they've got a challenge," he said.

"If a player has someone behind them that's really pushing to come into the team, that will hopefully stretch them to be at their best.

"The more competitions we're in, in the future, you have to interchange but long as everyone knows their job and can come in and do the job, that's what's important."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference